Fortnite creator Epic Games is trying to shut down Fortnite counterfeiters by suing them, but it’ll be an uphill battle.
We’re not sure if you noticed, but Fortnite is a pretty popular game. With over 10 million players, Fortnite is popular enough to have entered pop culture. You can get Fortnite merch basically everywhere, from Target to Walmart, and all of it officially licensed by Epic Games.
Well, some of it. A lot of Fortnite merch is bootlegged by counterfeiters looking to cash in on Fortnite’s name without paying Epic its due. And Epic isn’t happy about it.
Polygon recently uncovered court documents that show Epic is trying to come down hard on counterfeiters. They’re suing a group of "unincorporated associations" in Illinois court for selling counterfeit Fortnite goods through a series of online retailers. They’re designed to look authentic and above board, but they’re all illegally made in China and then shipped to the US. After that, they’re sold either on their own group of websites or on massive online retailers like Amazon and eBay.
Epic is aiming to shut down those websites and take down the Amazon storefronts where these illegal goods are being sold. They're also looking to transfer the domain names of all those websites to Epic to prevent them from starting back up again, as well as for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to shut down accounts associated with the group.
Last, but not least, Epic wants a cool $2 million for “for each and every use of the Fortnite trademark.”
However, while it's easy to shut down a website that's performing illegal deeds, finding the perpetrators is not a simple matter. The suit notes that counterfeiters usually use fake names and addresses when registering sites and companies, so tracking them down is difficult if not impossible. And once a website gets shut down, a new one pops up with a different name selling the exact same counterfeit goods.
Still, Epic is going to try to get this under control via the courts. And that's not the only issue Epic is getting litigious over. A former QA tester is also feeling Epic' legal wrath after leaking the details for Chapter 2 ahead of schedule.